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Bubble watch version 2.5: Predicting the Redskins’ 53-man roster

Aug 7, 2015, 10:00 AM EDT


RICHMOND—The Redskins now have over a week of of training camp under their belts. They still have a few dozen practices and four preseason games until head coach Jay Gruden and GM Scot McCloughan trim the roster down to the final 53. An injury has shuffled the cornerback spot and it looks like they have decided to shuffle the offensive line after a week.

Here are my projections of who will end up on the roster when the dust settles on September 5 plus a look at who is just hanging on and four who are just on the wrong side of the bubble. I’ve added some comments as needed.


Quarterback (3): Robert Griffin III, Kirk Cousins, Colt McCoy

Offensive line (9): Trent Williams, Shawn Lauvao, Kory Lichtensteiger, , Brandon Scherff, Morgan Moses, Tom Compton, Spencer Long, Arie Kouandjio, Josh LeRibeus

It is not a sure thing that Moses will start Week 1 at right tackle with Scherff beside him at guard. But, to borrow the NFL’s term in regards to Tom Brady’s Deflategate knowledge, it is more probable than not that it will happen.

Wide receiver (6): Pierre Garçon, DeSean Jackson, Andre Roberts, Ryan Grant, Jamison Crowder, Evan Spencer.

Tight end (3): Jordan Reed, Logan Paulsen, Niles Paul

Running back (4): Alfred Morris, Darrel Young, Matt Jones, Chris Thompson

Thompson’s position seems to be firming up. He has been running well in practice and this week Gruden said that he was becoming a solid third-down back.


Defensive line (7): Jason Hatcher, Terrance Knighton, Stephan Paea, Chris Baker, Ricky Jean Francois, Kedric Golston, Frank Kearse

Outside linebacker (4): Ryan Kerrigan, Junior Galette, Trent Murphy, Preston Smith

Inside linebacker (5): Perry Riley, Keenan Robinson, Will Compton, Martrell Spaight, Adam Hayward

Cornerback (5): Chris Culliver, DeAngelo Hall, David Amerson, Justin Rogers, Kyshoen Jarrett

With Tevin Mitchel out (injured, waived, and claimed by Colts), Rogers has the inside track on a roster spot at least until Bashaud Breeland is off of suspension in Week 2. Jarrett moves over from the safety count as it looks like he will be at worst the backup slot corner.

Safety (4): Dashon Goldson, Duke Ihenacho, Jeron Johnson, Trenton Robinson

With Johnson nursing a hamstring injury for at least the next week or so Ihenacho is solidifying his grip on the starting job at strong safety. Robinson is getting more reps and that could helping him get a roster spot.

Specialists (3): LS Nick Sundberg, P Tress Way, PK Kai Forbath

The numbers: 25 offense, 25 defense, 3 specialists; 15 new to the Redskins organization in 2015 including eight draft picks

Last 4 on

CB Justin Rogers—Breeland’s one-game suspension opens the door for Rogers to get another NFL game check and perhaps get a chance to establish himself as a legitimate slot corner. But unless he improves his play he will be the 53rd player on the roster in Week 1 and gone in Week 2.

RB Chris Thompson—Despite the praise from the head coach noted above, Thompson is still a minor injury away from being on the wrong side of the bubble.

DL Kedric Golston—The longest tenured Redskin will do what he has to do to keep himself on the roster. But outside factors may come into play. If there is an injury situation on either side of the ball or if there is a promising prospect that the organization believes it must keep, the decision may be made to keep six defensive linemen instead of seven. That could endanger the survival of the 32-year-old Golston.

S Trenton Robinson—If Rogers performs well for the rest of camp and preseason games, Robinson could be the odd man out when Breeland returns. He is solid on special teams so that helps.

Four more close to the bubble: OL Josh LeRibeus, PK Kai Forbath, DL Frank Kearse, ILB Adam Hayward

Last 4 cuts

S Akeem Davis—He is still extremely green and he suffered a broken thumb this week. But he got a pin put in the thumb and he will be practicing in the next day or two. The coaches like Davis’ work ethic and that could help him if there is an opening.

RB Silas Redd—If Thompson doesn’t shake his injury bug, Redd is likely to be in. Even of Thompson does stay healthy, Redd could win the job anyway. Right now Thompson has the edge because of his speed but Redd will not give up easily. Redd hasn’t done anything to stand out in camp but there is time for him to make an impression.

C Austin Reiter—If LeRibeus can’t function as a backup center then perhaps Reiter, the team’s seventh-round draft pick, can pick up guard well enough to squeeze onto the roster.

OLB Trevardo Williams—Things have not gone well for Williams since camp started. First the team brought in Junior Galette, who takes away a roster spot at his position. Then he suffered a hamstring strain that Gruden said will sideline him for two weeks. An injury could create an opening for him but he needs to be able to take advantage of it.

Four more just on the wrong side of the bubble: CB Trey Wolfe, NT Jerrell Powe, TE Devin Mahina, OLB Jackson Jeffcoat

  1. ericskins44 - Aug 7, 2015 at 10:40 AM

    If Ryan Grant keeps impressing along with Crowder could you see a scenario where Andre Roberts gets cut? Trey Williams seems to be getting some buzz lately also so I would like to see him make the squad and maybe he could help out with kickoffs or something and also provides insurance if Thompson gets hurt again. Just a thought.

    • bangkokben - Aug 7, 2015 at 11:05 AM

      Why cut Roberts? Or in other words, how does cutting Roberts benefit the team more than demoting him? Lastly, who do you keep instead of Robers? Grant and Crowder are going to make the team anyway so shuffling the depth chart seems like a more logical solution than going into the season with no veteran depth at the position. With what has happened in the secondary it seems prudent to keep Roberts. Jackson is already missing a couple weeks with a shoulder. Imagine if Garcon couldn’t go with a muscle strain the same week. In this scenario plus Roberts release, the Redskins then have Grant, Crowder, and Spencer as your wideouts. More than likely, the last guy on the roster gets cut and the Redskins then sign a veteran free agent to play WR. Lastly, if your reasons are cap related, the Redskins are $8-$9M under the cap.

      • ET - Aug 7, 2015 at 12:21 PM

        As I recall, any cap savings on Roberts for this season would be negligible anyway. So no upside to cutting him, financial or otherwise.

        • bangkokben - Aug 7, 2015 at 12:32 PM

          Exactly. I can see zero benefit to cutting Roberts this year. I know he had a bad year despite a good camp last year but there has to be business sense behind such a move. Of course, we could then bring back Santana Moss. ;)

        • rtcwon - Aug 7, 2015 at 9:22 PM

          His base this year is guaranteed so cutting him not only doesn’t save any cap room, it would actually cost/add $2M –> $3.75M cap # now, $5.75M if cut/traded.

    • bangkokben - Aug 7, 2015 at 11:10 AM

      Trey Williams as a fifth RB over Roberts and reducing the WR corps to five. I get it but still disagree for reasons I listed above.

  2. bangkokben - Aug 7, 2015 at 10:40 AM


    Why was Mitchel waived injured and not simply placed on IR? Does that somehow save the team money? I’m sure if a similar injury were to happen to Scherff or Smith (knock on wood), they’d simply put them on IR. Does IR count against the 90?

    • weneedlinemen42 - Aug 7, 2015 at 11:39 AM

      It is common practice amongst all the teams.

      The Waived/injured designation was introduced to prevent teams from stashing young players on injured reserve. You cannot put a player directly on to IR during the off-season. You either have to let him pass through waivers, or you have to hold him in one of your “active” roster spots until the start of the season (at which point he can go straight to IR).

      It’s used widely for low round draft picks and low level free agents. It is very rare for another team to use the waiver option but it does happen. The Giants lost tight end Jake Ballard to the Patriots through the same process.

      So, the Redskins management did take a risk in order to free up a roster spot, but it is a risk that pays-off far more often than not.

      • bangkokben - Aug 7, 2015 at 11:41 AM


      • ET - Aug 7, 2015 at 12:32 PM

        It’s a shame to lose Mitchel that way, but the logic makes sense given the rules.

        Though the Colts may have to waive him at some point, too, so perhaps the Skins could reclaim him if Mitchel could temporarily rejoin the active roster? Not sure if that’s a realistic scenario or not. But it seems unlikely that the Colts would hold a spot for him through final cuts.

        • kenlinkins - Aug 7, 2015 at 1:21 PM

          It is interesting that one team (Colts) evaluated his talent / value worth a spot on the 90 man roster sight un-seen / hurt / unable to help in 2015, while another team took the gamble to risk him on the wavier wire. The Colts have only risked a spot on the 90 man roster for some period of time, while the Redskins lost a 6th round draft pick they gained by moving down 23 spots in the draft. Did the Redskins believe that McCann and Hoskey were a better value / risk (I do not believe so) or did the lack of un hurt CB’s force the move to insure camp bodies (my guess)? Was this a mistake or just bad luck? Time will tell.

      • hk2000 - Aug 7, 2015 at 5:17 PM

        I’m not sure how that would pay off, We lost a draft pick. Had we kept him active and just went with 89 instead of 90, the difference is negligible- I mean we know there are 20 + players who are not going to make the roster anyway. I think it was a bad move.

        • bangkokben - Aug 7, 2015 at 5:59 PM

          I’m going to agree with you here. I understand that every corner expected to make the team is already injured and that we converted a WR to the position in the last 24 hours but there have to be five guys (at other positions) that we know aren’t going to make the team that barely get a rep as it is that probably could’ve been cut in order to sign camp corners.

    • weneedlinemen42 - Aug 7, 2015 at 11:45 AM

      “Prior to the first cutdown date, injured players with less than 4 years of service cannot go onto IR until they pass through waivers. Those players are released with the “waived/injured” designation. Known as “injury waivers”, this process exposes the player to waivers, but warns other teams that the player is injured. If the player clears injury waivers, the team can then either place the player on IR or agree to an injury settlement (paying the player for the weeks that he is expected to be recovering from his injury) and then release the player.”


      • ET - Aug 7, 2015 at 2:19 PM

        Thanks for the links.

        Apparently Mitchel only needs to make it past the first cut-down in order for the Colts to place him on IR. We’re short-staffed in the CB department, sure, but it seems like Mitchel was worth hanging onto until after the cut to 75.

        The Seattle-Times link mentioned there’s typically a “gentleman’s agreement” between clubs not to poach injured players from the wire. Perhaps the DC staff thought he’d pass through waivers without issue.

        • bangkokben - Aug 7, 2015 at 6:04 PM

          Clearly they were poached. Seems reasonable to assume a 6th round corner out for the year would pass waivers at the same time you’d think that your 2nd slot corner might be worth a spot on a 90 MAN roster for three to four weeks.

        • bowlregard - Aug 8, 2015 at 1:03 PM

          Gentlemen’s agreements are out the window in the NFL. There’s a lot of politics going on behind the scenes. Deflategate is just the most recent manifestation.

  3. sidepull - Aug 7, 2015 at 10:42 AM

    RB Trey Williams is quick, very quick. Any thoughts on him instead of Thompson?

  4. bangkokben - Aug 7, 2015 at 11:34 AM

    If the Redskins move Scherff to OG is the decision based on what Brandon does best or on whether Moses is a better tackle than Long is a guard?

    • ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© - Aug 7, 2015 at 12:01 PM

      It’s a good question.

      a) Is Scherff not cutting it at tackle.
      b) Has Moses improved so much he’s winning that job.
      c) Is Spencer Long not cutting it at guard?

      • bangkokben - Aug 7, 2015 at 12:14 PM

        Obviously, Scherff is going to start somewhere since he was the 5th pick. He may even be a better RT than Moses is, but the line could be better with him at guard. Of course, he may be worse than Moses at right tackle and only nominally better than Long at RG which is the red flag that Redskin fans don’t want to hear but need to know.

      • bangkokben - Aug 7, 2015 at 6:06 PM

        From what I heard on the radio this afternoon, Moses is clearly better than Scherff at RT at this point and the coaches are trying to get the five best guys on field.and only LT and Center are locked.

        • coolestfrood - Aug 8, 2015 at 12:14 AM

          Moses being better than Scherff at RT at this point is not a surprise. Scherff might turn into a high quality RT after a year of NFL development, and he might not. But playing at Guard this year is probably a good idea.

  5. kenlinkins - Aug 7, 2015 at 11:52 AM

    Rich: IYO, Did the new GM risk Tevin Mitchel to the waiver wire because of: A. The GM’s evaluation of his talent in training camp (i.e. didn’t think moving him right to IR was worth a spot on the 90 man roster and his injury would protect him from claims) or B. The injuries to Hall, Culliver, Amerson, and Breedland forced him to run the risk of waivers to field bodies for preseason games and training camp? C. A combo of both? In short, was taking that risk a mistake by the new GM? (I just do not see McCann or Hoskey making the 53 man roster or even the Practice Squad but Mitchel seemed to be targeted to the PS). Could one assume that the new GM’s evaluation of Mitchel was lower than many fans figured already?

  6. coolestfrood - Aug 7, 2015 at 12:40 PM

    Rich, please use an asterisk by the Names* of players who would be new to the team this season (draft or trade or free agent). Thanks!

    • coolestfrood - Aug 7, 2015 at 12:57 PM

      You point out that the projection includes 15 players new to the Redskins organization in 2015 including eight draft picks, but you don’t make it easy to identify those 15 players.

    • bangkokben - Aug 7, 2015 at 1:42 PM

      I posted a list for you.

  7. bangkokben - Aug 7, 2015 at 1:41 PM


    Offensive line (2): Brandon Scherff (R, 1st round) and Arie Kouandjio (R, 4th round)

    Wide receiver (2): Jamison Crowder (R, 4th round) and Evan Spencer. (R, 6th round)

    Running back (1): Matt Jones (R, 3rd round)


    Defensive line (3): Terrance Knighton (FA), Stephan Paea (FA), and Ricky Jean Francois (FA)

    Outside linebacker (2): Junior Galette (FA) and Preston Smith (R, 2nd round)

    Inside linebacker (1): Martrell Spaight (R, 5th round)

    Cornerback (2): Chris Culliver (FA) and Kyshoen Jarrett (R, 6th round)

    Safety (2): Dashon Goldson (FA) and Jeron Johnson (FA)

    The numbers: 25 offense (five), 25 defense (10 – 40% of that unit), 3 specialists (0); 15 new to the Redskins organization in 2015 including eight draft picks and seven free agents

    Your homework is to look over the Redskins additions – no asterisks needed.

    • coolestfrood - Aug 8, 2015 at 12:14 AM

      This is good, but I would still prefer to have the two lists consolidated.

    • ET - Aug 7, 2015 at 2:32 PM

      Cool. Good luck to him. Archives

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